Greenwich, CT Fire, Jul 1908


Business Section of Connecticut Summer Town Swept--Started from Children's Bonfire.


Telephone Girls Stuck to Their Posts and Sent Messages for Help While Phone Building Burned.

Special to The New York Times.

GREENWICH, Conn., July 17--A fire, in which eight were injured and which did damage estimated at $250,000, destroyed much of the business section of the town to-day. Simultaneously fires sprang up in different sections of the town, so that at one time there were twelve different residences of Summer dwellers burning, some of them a mile from the scene of the big fire.

It was only the promptness of the Fire Departments of Stamford, Port Chester, East Port Chester, Rye, Glenville and Mianus that saved the town.

The fire started at 11:15 A. M. in a paint shop in the rear of F. A. Moshier's livery stable. It is supposed to have caught from a bonfire built nearby by children. The grocery store of George A. Finch was soon ablaze, and before water could be put on this the carriage repository of John H. Ray & Son was ablaze. Before aid from other towns reached here the Post Office Building, owned by William E. Ritch, took fire. The Government employes[sic] had a rich to get the mails and Government property to a place of safety. The top floor of this building is the operating room of the telephone company. The operators were forced to abandon their board, thus shutting the town off from telephone communications.

Miss Clara Talbot, chief operator, and Miss Alice Gronold, as assistant, stuck to their posts, however, while the rear of the building was burning, and in stifling smoke and scorching heat sent the alarm to other towns. They had just time to escape as the blaze swept into the building.

The fire now swept eastward and caught a four-story frame flathouse, licking it up in five minutes. Several women and children were rescued by the firemen. Timothy Laughlin's grain and feed store, stored full of hay, caught at the same time.

The brisk south wind bore burning fragments of the buildings a mile or more into the heart of the section occupied by the Summer residents. Almost simultaneously the residences of Herbert B. Stevens, a New York merchant, E. Jay Edwards, Dr. Carl E. Martin, Dr. E. O. Parker, Washington Marshall, Stephen Peck, Charles Merritt, G. H. Carter, and the building of the Fairfield County Golf Club caught fire.

The firemen now gave up trying to save the burning section except the Post Office, and established and immune area. They succeeded after an hour's fight in putting out the fire in the Post Office building and in keeping the flames from spreading further.

During the fire several firemen were overcome, and one or two were slightly injured. The injured were:

Joseph Martin, Greenwich, arm badly lacerated.

A. B. Louden, overcome by heat.

Fred Crawford, overcome by the heat; taken to Greenwich Hospital.

Clinton Barnes, overcome by the heat; taken to Greenwich Hospital.

Dick Mosick, thrown from horse and kicked in the knee.

Bert Daly, fell from wall; slightly injured.

Private Hikcox of Twelfth Company, C. A. C. hip injured by fall on bricks.

The losses were generally covered by insurance.

The New York Times, New York, NY 18 Jul 1908